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' Siegfried'


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ACT II from
The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
MOST of the music of this second act of Siegfried is dominated by the beauty of the woodland scene in which it passes. But it has its grim moments, too. The Prelude suggests the dragon into which the Giant Fafner has transformed himself by means of the Rhine-gold's magic, and when the curtain rises wo see the entrance of his cave. The Nibelung,
Alberich, haunts the spot in the hope that some day he may snatch the treasures which were stolen from him. Wotan, father of the gods, in the guise of a wandering old man, comes in, and he and Alberich meet. No sooner has the god gone than Siegfried and the Dwarf Mime appear, the dwarf leading the hero to the dragon's lair, hoping that whoever wins in the battle, there may be some chance for him to seize the spoil. But Siegfried drives the dwarf from him.
Then there follows the' beautiful music of the forest which is by now one of the most familiar episodes of the whole Ring cycle. At the end of it the dragon wakes and Siegfried slays him. The monster's blood on his hand as he touches it with his lips. gives him the power to understand the birds and beasts, and even of knowing what passes in the minds of his fellow men. Thus ho realizes the treachery which lurks behind tho fair words of Mime, who now returns, and seeks to poison him. He kills Mime, and Alberich's hideous laughter can be heard from his hiding place. Again the music of the forest rises above the motives of conflict and evil, and now there is blended with it a new theme as Siegfried listens to the forest bird; it tells him of the maid who sleeps on the fire-girt rock, and at last leads
Siegfried towards her.


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